Re­mains of Pearl Har­bor sailors re­turn home af­ter 77 years

The Kansas City Star - - News -

More than 75 years af­ter nearly 2,400 mem­bers of the U.S. mil­i­tary were killed in the Ja­panese at­tack at Pearl Har­bor, some who died on Dec. 7, 1941, are fi­nally be­ing laid to rest in ceme­ter­ies across the United States.

In 2015, the De­fense POW/MIA Ac­count­ing Agency ex­humed nearly 400 sets of re­mains from the Na­tional Memo­rial Ceme­tery of the Pa­cific in Hawaii af­ter de­ter­min­ing ad­vances in foren­sic science and ge­nealog­i­cal help from fam­i­lies could make iden­ti­fi­ca­tions pos­si­ble. They were all on the USS Ok­la­homa, which cap­sized dur­ing the at­tack, and had been buried as un­knowns af­ter the war.

Al­to­gether, 429 sailors and Marines on the Ok­la­homa were killed. Only 35 were iden­ti­fied in the years im­me­di­ately af­ter the at­tack. The Ok­la­homa’s ca­su­al­ties were sec­ond only to the USS Ari­zona, which lost 1,177 men.

The agency has iden­ti­fied about 190 sailors and Marines from the Ok­la­homa who were pre­vi­ously uniden­ti­fied.

Slowly, the re­mains are be­ing sent to be re­buried in places like Traer, Iowa, and On­tanogan, Michi­gan.

Here’s a look at some of those who have ei­ther al­ready been re­buried this year or who will be in­terred on Fri­day:

Durell Wade: Wade was born in 1917 in the Hardin Town com­mu­nity of ru­ral Cal­houn County, Mis­sis­sippi. He en­listed in the Navy in 1936 and in 1940 re-en­listed for an­other two-year tour.

Wil­liam Bruesewitz: Re­nate Starck has been pon­der­ing the eu­logy she’ll give at the fu­neral for her un­cle, Navy Sea­man 1st Class Wil­liam Bruesewitz, on Fri­day. “We al­ways have thought of him on Dec. 7,” she said. “He’s al­ready such a big part of that his­tory.” Bruesewitz, of Ap­ple­ton, Wis­con­sin, will be buried in Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery. Robert Kimball Holmes: The re­mains of Ma­rine Pfc. Robert Kimball Holmes were in­terred in Au­gust in his home­town of Salt Lake City.

Low­ell Val­ley: For 20 years, Navy Fire­man 2nd Class Low­ell Val­ley’s brother worked to iden­tify USS Ok­la­homa sailors.

Now that Val­ley has been iden­ti­fied and his re­mains have been re­turned home to On­ton­agon, Michi­gan, Bob Val­ley ex­pects his role in help­ing iden­tify a group of 27 sailors will soon be over. All 27 have been lo­cated.

CHRIS ZOELLER AP

On July 7, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Kri­etz gives a flag to Mark Arickx, nephew to Sea­man First Class Leon Arickx, in Osage, Iowa. Arickx’ re­mains were iden­ti­fied through DNA.

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